Lead Paint Poisoning Lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland
Historic Baltimore, Maryland, is a city that’s filled with growing families drawn to the rich culture of the area and the beautiful traditional style homes, townhomes, rental properties, and apartments. Unfortunately, these historic houses often come with a dangerous threat to the young children and pets of local residents – lead paint. While more modern homes are built using low-VOC, lead-free paint, older houses built before the 1970s did not have the same standards as today, and therefore pose a toxic threat.
Lead poisoning is one of the biggest environmental threats to young children under the age of 7 years old. While updated federal laws prevented the use of lead paint in houses starting in the late 1970s, families living in older homes may still suffer through the negative effects of lead paint exposure, including mental or cognitive disorders, behavioral issues, or even death. If your family is living in an older home in Baltimore, Maryland, and you believe exposure to lead paint has caused the developmental issues, illness, or death of a family member, then contact a lead paint lawyer today. The lead poisoning attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel have years of experience representing Baltimore residents for personal injury or wrongful death cases involving lead paint. Let them use their expertise to help your family seek the justice you deserve in court.
What is lead paint poisoning?
Lead is a malleable metal that is naturally found in small amounts within the earth’s crusts. Lead poisoning is a condition in which the levels of lead in the blood have dangerously increased due to repeated exposure.
For many years, paint manufacturers and contractors used lead-based paint for it’s many benefits, including increased durability and a faster drying time. Even so, it was found that lead paint leads to a series of brain-related illnesses and issues, so starting in 1978, it became illegal to use lead-based paint. This left many landlords and contractors with a dilemma for the homes they’ve already built. They could either take the expensive route and completely remove the lead paint, or they could leave it as-is. Unfortunately for many families living in Baltimore homes, many landlords and contractors chose the cheaper option.
Lead paint poisoning is toxic for pets, children, and adults – but mostly for children. If a child under the age of six is exposed to chipped or peeling lead paint, lead paint dust, or they have ingested lead paint, then this highly toxic substance can lead to:
- Learning disabilities
- Brain damage or neurological problems
- Loss of IQ points and intellect
- Poor concentration
- Memory issues
- Neuropsychological deficits
- Attention deficit disorder
- Antisocial behavior
- Brain swelling
- Major organ failure
Due to the high toxicity of lead paid, once someone is exposed, then there isn’t much once can do to reverse the damage. This means that families that have been exposed could be faced with the need for permanent medical treatment. If any of the above scenarios have happened to your family, then you shouldn’t have to face the financial burden of that medical treatment on your own.
With help from a lawyer who is experienced in lead poisoning settlements, you can file a lawsuit against your landlord or property manager for neglecting to disclose that your home contains lead paint.
How do I know if my home in Baltimore, Maryland has lead paint?
An estimated 95% of homes in Baltimore that were constructed prior to the 1950s contain lead paint. If you purchased an older home, drawn by its historic charm, then you and your loved ones may be at risk to some level of lead poisoning exposure. Pay attention to the condition of the paint around your home. If you notice chipped or peeling paint, then it could be an indication that you and your loved ones have been exposed to toxic lead paint. Lead paint can lead to both cognitive and behavioral issues when you inhale the dust or accidentally ingest the paint.
You can’t deduce that your home has lead poisoning and win a lawsuit based on the year it was built alone. Just because your home was built in a certain timeframe, it doesn’t mean that following the new law against lead paint that the landlord or property manager didn’t take the proper steps to ensure the home is still safe. With that said, if you suspect your family may be suffering from lead paint poisoning symptoms, you can receive a complete x-ray fluorescence XRF test of your residence so you can know for sure.
If you’re no longer living in the home that you suspect may have been painted with lead-based paint, it can become more complicated to gather concrete evidence – especially if the house has been recently renovated. An experienced Baltimore, MD, lead paint attorney can help you gather any historical lead-test results or gather circumstantial evidence in order to bolster your case.
What should I do if my child has been exposed to lead paint?
Due to the number of historic properties and homes, Baltimore is considered an “at risk” area for lead poisoning. As such, any children automatically receive blood testing for lead as part of their regular 12-month and 24-month doctor’s visits. In some cases, you may not have been previously notified that your child had certain levels of lead in their blood. If you moved to the area when your child was 3 years in age or older, then they would not have received these tests.
If you’re unsure if your child has been exposed to lead poisoning, there are some signs to look for before notifying your doctor for an official diagnosis. Common signs of lead poisoning exposure in infants and children include:
- Low birth weight
- Slower rate of growth
- Developmental delay
- Difficulty learning
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Pica (eating things that are not food)
- Stomach issues like abdominal pain and vomiting
- Hearing loss
As soon as you suspect that your child may be suffering from lead poisoning, your first priority should always be the safety and well-being of any children that have been exposed to lead paint. You need to seek the assistance of a medical professional as soon as possible to get a full diagnosis of their condition. Not only will this ensure you can start the treatment process quickly, but you’ll also have a medical record of your child’s condition to show the court the negative effects lead paint exposure has had on your family. This type of evidence can help increase your chances of receiving a monetary award for your lead paint poisoning claim.
Low-Level or High-Level Exposure
You may think that you shouldn’t file a case because your child has only had minimal exposure to lead paint. Unfortunately, there is no safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Ingesting lead paint through the mouth or even breathing in lead paint dust can have harmful affects on your child’s development and mental ability.
Once a doctor confirms that there is lead in your blood, or your child’s blood, your medical care provider will want you to undergo a series of expert evaluations to determine what impact it has had. The resulting medical report can be used to fight your case in a Maryland court so you can receive reimbursement for your medical expenses as well as recover the compensation you need for our child’s medical treatment and recovery.
Exposure to Lead Paint for Adults
While young children face the biggest threat when exposed to lead-based paint, that doesn’t mean that ingesting this type of toxic paint has no effect on adults. Children are often the focus of lead paint poisoning cases since their minds are still developing and they retain the lead in their system at higher rates than adults. Ingesting lead paint at this special time in their life could have devastating effects on their mental development. But for adults, there are some symptoms from exposure, as well, including:
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
- Concentration or memory issues
- Regular headaches
- Mood disorders
- Reduced sperm count
- Abnormal sperm
- Increased risks of pregnancy complications for women, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth
Exposure to Lead Paint for Pets
In addition to the children and adults of the household, lead paint exposure is also toxic to any animals you have on the premises. Flaking or chipped lead-based paint increases the risk of your dog or cat ingesting the lead paint accidentally and can lead to any of the following symptoms:
- Stomach issues such as vomiting and diarrhea
- Poor appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of sight
Should I file for a lead paint poisoning settlement?
Prolonged exposure to lead paint can have devastating effects on a family, leading to life-time disability or even a wrongful death. If you live in an older Maryland home and your landlord has neglected to take the proper steps to prevent the toxic paint from peeling off the walls, then you can hold them financially responsible for the resulting illness you or your child develops.
Ashcraft & Gerel is home to dedicated personal injury and wrongful death attorneys with years of experience representing families in Baltimore, Maryland, who have been exposed to lead paint due to the negligence of their landlords or property managers. They can use this experience and their resources to review your case and investigate your lead paint lawsuit so you can receive compensation for your medical expenses.
The first step is to meet with a lead paint attorney to discuss the facts surrounding your case and your child’s diagnosis. Your lead paint lawyer will be able to consult with you so you know the next steps to take to file for a settlement.
Who can file a lead poisoning claim in Baltimore, MD?
Any parent, guardian, or grandparent can file a lead poisoning claim on the behalf of the injuries their children. If a child’s adult guardians did not file a claim on their behalf, this doesn’t mean that they are unable to receive the justice they deserve when they are older. If you or a loved one was exposed to lead paint or lead paint dust, you can file a claim once you reach the age of 18.
With that said, there is a limitation for adults filing lead paint settlements for lead exposure when they were younger. While in Maryland, the traditional timeframe for filing a personal injury lawsuit is 3 years, the rules are a bit different for those who experienced the negative effects of lead paint poisoning. A child that has been exposed has until their 21st birthday to file a suit against the landlord or property manager who is responsible.
Due to this restriction on the time you can file a lawsuit for lead poisoning, you should reach out to a lead paint lawyer as soon as possible to start your case. With all cases, it takes time in order to gather evidence to prove a claim, especially if you’re filing a lawsuit for lead exposure that occurred several years ago. The home you lived in at the time may have been renovated since then or if you’re unsure of your old landlord’s name and personal information. In these situations, your case may not be as simple as having a professional perform an x-ray fluorescence XRF test. If your lead paint poisoning lawyer has to collect statements and documents to prove the home contained lead paint at the time of your upbringing, they’ll need substantial time to do so in order to ensure you have the strongest case possible to present to the court.
How much is my lead-paint case worth?
How much compensation you receive for your lead poisoning case depends on the circumstances surrounding your case. With that said, it has been reported that residents in Baltimore have collected more than $300 million dollars in settlements for their lead-based paint lawsuits over the years. Your lead paint lawyer will be able to tell you how much they believe your case is worth based on the strength of your evidence and the severity of your damages. Most cases are heavily influenced by the following factors:
- Whether an x-ray fluorescence XRF test was performed on the home
- Whether the evidence of lead paint is based on circumstantial evidence
- Whether you received a blood-lead test while living in the home or afterwards
- Whether there are other probable causes for the amount of lead in your system from the blood-lead test
- Whether there are other factors that could have contributed to your cognitive or behavioural symptoms
Every lead paint case or settlement is different, and given the complexities of these types of cases, it’s difficult to determine how much compensation you could receive without a thorough investigation of your case. This is why you should reach out to a qualified lead paint attorney as soon as you suspect you or your child may be a victim of lead poisoning. A lead paint poisoning lawyer with experience in handling Baltimore, Maryland lead paint lawsuits and settlements can fully examine the merits of your case to determine if the conduct of the landlord or property manager directly affected your situation. They may need to thoroughly review your medical records, consult with your healthcare provider, or pull records for the building in order to find the cause and effects of the lead paint exposure. This can provide you with the perspective you need to get the justice you deserve.
Consult with a Lead Paint Lawyer to Discuss Your Lead Poisoning Settlement
When you or your child has been exposed to lead paint due to the negligence of a landlord, you don’t have to fight for your rights on your own. Win the financial compensation you deserve by hiring an experienced lead paint lawyer from Ashcraft & Gerel. With years of experience representing clients in lead paint settlements and lawsuits, the lead paint lawyer at our firm can provide the legal perspective and guidance you need to file a successful claim against your current or former property owner.
Discovering that you or your child may be suffering from cognitive or behavioral issues due to toxic lead paint can be a frightening and disorienting experience. You may not know what steps you should take to get the financial assistance you need for treatment. A seasoned lead paint attorney can help you decide which steps you need to take to ensure your case is as successful as possible, and after your lead paint settlement or trial, you’ll receive the compensation you need for the full extent of your medical expenses. In addition to receiving compensation for your medical bills, a successful lawsuit with the help of a Baltimore lead paint lawyer would hold the landlord or property owner responsible for their negligence, ensuring they’ll have the issue fixed so no other family has to suffer in the future.